Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Crossing Boundaries to International Production

Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Fujisawa Assigns a Local Investigation

News of the EEC's policy was frequently reported in the media of Japan and other nations throughout the month of December 1961. The measures Honda would conceive in order to handle the situation were to play a key role in its overseas strategy. During that period, following a meeting in the Executive Boardroom, the topic of conversation between Takeo Fujisawa (then senior managing director) and Hideo Iwamura (then assistant general manager of administration) turned to a possible strategy regarding the EEC. Fujisawa described in considerable detail the present state of the EEC, along with future trends and issues facing Honda in the EEC region.

Fujisawa Assigns a Local Investigation

Building the factory. The construction was rapid from the start, but nevertheless was suspended for four months after a cold wave struck the region.

The exportation of motorcycles to the EEC was rapidly approaching the specified limit, yet even at that point Honda was barely making a profit. Moreover, the high tariffs were threatening to consume even more of the company's earnings. It was feared that motorcycle exports would no longer be feasible as a business when the EEC combined itself into one big market. Therefore, in order that Honda might grow its business on even terms with competitors within the EEC, it was argued that the best measure would be to have Honda produce and sell motorcycles within the region.

Successful production and sales within the EEC could dramatically cut the costs of distribution. Furthermore, the simple increase of locally procured parts to 60 percent of product content would qualify the product as EEC-made, enabling it to be distributed tax-free within the EEC market. After all, Honda motorcycles had already demonstrated their great potential in local race activities, and opportunities were on the increase for the development of a European market.

"So then," said Fujisawa, "you start looking into it right away." With that, Iwamura was instructed to conduct a market survey in the EEC region, under the assumption that Honda would establish a corporation for the local production and sale of motorcycles. Iwamura, surprised by such a sudden turn of events, simply could not hide his bewilderment.

"This is a very important issue concerning Honda's future," he said. "So, let's tackle it by organizing a solid system first."

"I'll leave everything to you," Fujisawa replied. "Feel free to do what you think is best." Following the exchange, Iwamura hurriedly began work on a research project for the EEC region.

By January 1962, Iwamura, along with Kenjiro Okayasu (then manager of Saitama Factory's Direct Materials Section, Materials Division) and Tetsuya Iwase (then chief of the Training Subsection, Personnel Division), organized themselves as the "Special Planning Team for the Corporate Project to Expand into the EEC Region," and began full-scale preparations to conduct the necessary research. There was relevant data to collect with regard to the issue. Yet, for the meantime their research would center on the choice of a candidate site for the construction of a local corporation that could produce and sell motorcycles using materials and labor procured in the area. Moreover, they would need to determine the size of the operation and the types of motorcycles that should be produced. That was no easy task, considering that the EEC was comprised of countries that differed greatly in terms of their policies, economics, market characteristics, languages and customs. It was highly likely that such differences would affect the way any corporation engaged in business there. Moreover, in choosing a site for factory construction it was obvious that the host nation had to be politically stable with a good economic foundation that allowed for the local acquisition of parts. Other factors in the equation were the need for a skilled labor force and a convenient geographic location for corporate activities. Considering the need to satisfy so many conditions, their research took on a wick scope.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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